Ivan Chekhovich became one of the headlines of the last off-season in the KHL. The young and talented Russian striker clearly showed himself in the Nizhny Novgorod “Torpedo” camp, but the anniversary season of the Continental Hockey League marked for him a new page in his career – he traded the Yaroslavl “Locomotive” hockey player .
At 23, Chekhovich managed to prove himself in the Quebec Junior Hockey League, the AHL and even in the NHL, where he represented San Jose. But his period of performance in the world’s major leagues was short-lived. The Russian scored one point in four matches, after which he broke the contract with the “sharks” and returned to Russia.
In an interview with RIA Novosti Sport, Ivan talked about life in the United States, disagreements with the San Jose leaders, the opportunity to try again in the NHL, as well as ambitions at Lokomotiv and a bit of public bath. Russian team.
“I don’t think about NHL yet. I want to play in Russia”
– Let’s go to the hot pursuit of the last match with “Torpedo” (1:3). We started well, we noticed the majority, but then we fell. Why? Why?
– The first and third periods were good, but the second was unsuccessful. We shouldn’t have played the way we played. In the second 20-minute period, we gave the initiative to the opponent, so we lost the match.
– You have a lot of work to do with the “Torpedo”. Did you experience any special feelings?
– I wasn’t worried, but it was unusual to play against my old friends with whom I spent two years. Actually, it was an ordinary game that I prepared as usual.
— “Torpedo” attracts a lot of attention this season. Is Igor Larionov’s team really that good?
— The team scores a lot of goals, offensive hockey is very popular with fans. Defenders also often join the attack. I haven’t seen hockey like this in a long time. Especially at the CHL level. I’m glad the team can play like this.
– Your trade with Lokomotiv was one of the loudest deals of the season. Describe the situation in the first person singular.
– At the end of the season, I talked to my family and realized that I want to improve and move forward. I talked to some teams, Lokomotiv came up with an offer. After the dialogue with Yaroslavl there was no doubt about the transition, I no longer thought about other options. Negotiations took about two months, as Lokomotiv for a long time could not agree on terms of agreement with Torpedo. Details were no longer spoken to me, I just waited.
– At Loko you are constantly in the top 6, but from the outside it still seems that there is not enough mutual understanding with your partners.
– I admit that I have not yet used my full potential. I know I can play much better. Not all team is in good shape yet, not all players are in top shape. Of course it’s too early to judge. He didn’t play many matches. But much needs to be added. Pre-season training was held at the club base: in the evening – ice, in the morning – land. Two workouts a day is a very serious process. And I talk too much about psychology, not about physical education. The team needs to add this component. It was a bit unusual for me personally because I hadn’t participated in team training camps for a long time, I was working as an individual. In general, we prepared well for the season, we laid the foundation.
– What can you say about Igor Nikitin’s hockey? Is it difficult to adapt to his needs?
– It is clear that every detail is important to him, there are no trifles for him in hockey. I absorb new information like a sponge. Adapted to their needs.
– Nikitin surprises us all with his flamboyant behavior in public this season. He usually communicates with restraint, but fires at his latest press conferences. How is he in the team?
– Igor Valeryevich knows what words to choose to cheer up the team, explain to the players how to behave. He feels the command, he understands it. We all have high expectations for the season: fans, players, management. The club does everything to achieve its goal. The coaching staff employs people with vast experience who have repeatedly reached the final of the Gagarin Cup.
– Speaking of experience. Sergey Andronov is one of the KHL veterans. He has been captain of Lokomotiv since this season. How would you rate your role in the team?
Sergey is a true leader. He very well understands the mood of the team, knows when and where to support his teammates and, on the contrary, when to say “a few loving people”. He helps young players a lot, pays attention to details. Personally, I often communicate with him, discuss game moments.
– When you moved to Loko, you talked about your desire to move to a new level. And when people talk about striving for the best, we naturally think of the NHL. What about plans to go back there?
– I have a 3-year contract with Lokomotiv. I’m not even considering the NHL for this period. Naturally, it would be foolish to say that I do not want to squeeze. Everyone wants to get there, to achieve something. But I repeat, I have a contract with Loko, I am not considering other options. It will be beneficial for me to spend the next three years here.
– During the off-season, none of the NHL executives contacted?
– My manager asked me what options we would consider. I said I wanted to play in Russia. Frankly, nobody in the NHL is interested in me yet. I don’t want to go there and make a double contract to play in the AHL again.
“After I debuted on Sharks, I freaked out. “Where did I go? What is the NHL like for me?
– It was quite sad to part with “San Jose”. What’s the reason?
– I spent my first season with Torpedo on loan, then I came back to the USA. I had special expectations, the representatives of “San Jose” said very nice words. “Come on, come to us, play a few games in the AHL and we’ll get you into the NHL.” As a result of the matches in the AHL, it has accumulated under twenty. If we compare the American Hockey League with the KHL, it is much more interesting to play in ours. I realized that the management did not see me in the first team. Maybe they have such a mentality: just to say good things.
– Have you discussed this situation with Nikolai Knyzhov and Alexander Barabanov, who were at the club at that time?
No, I talked to my family. We decided not to go to AHL for another year. Moreover, Torpedo had a top team selected on paper. True, the result was not very good.
Think back to your debut in the NHL. were you very nervous?
– The call to the main team was unexpected. I had a training session scheduled with the Barracudas, so I went out on the ice as I was told: “You have a flight in an hour”. And what to do, I have no idea what’s going on. He immediately rushed to the airport, arrived at the location of the club. Until recently, I didn’t know if I was going to play or not. As a result, I was put in the game against Colorado. And that’s when I went crazy. After the match I did not understand: “Where did I get it, what else is the NHL for me?” Then he played a few more matches: several times with “Arizona”, another meeting against “Vegas”. And in this short time it felt like I was playing in different leagues.
How is life in California?
The first thing that comes to mind is expensive. There are big taxes. Once again I could not afford to go to the cafe, I had to cook at home. He lived in the same flat with Danil Yurtaykin, the rent was split in half, but still there was almost no money left. The monthly residential rent in the amount costs about three thousand dollars. But the weather is cool there, the ocean is close. Did the locals recognize me? Number. We walked with the same Kolya Knyzhov, who spent a whole season in the NHL for the Sharks, but still did not know him.
– Before that, you had a Canadian period of life.
– I lived for three years in Baie-Comeau, a very small city of about 20,000 inhabitants. Actually there was nothing to do there, just McDonald’s from the cafe. Mole Day: you come to training, get ready, come home and that’s it. At the same time, the arena was far enough from the house and we had to wait for someone from the team who could take the lift as we weren’t given a car. But I have very good and pleasant memories of that period.
– Canada and Russia in terms of hockey, attitude towards it – heaven and earth?
– I felt a special difference in how much attention they paid to details and trifles. Players were given special sticks containing as many pairs of skates as you wanted. And, of course, he noted that he attaches great importance to the attack. For example, he works on NHL and AHL defensive play. In the Quebec League they said almost nothing about defense, only about offense. The score in the match is 8:7 or 9:10 – this is normal for them.
– How is the situation with equipment, when the assortment is sharply reduced due to sanctions?
I haven’t had any serious problems so far. About 25 sticks were brought from Torpedo, Lokomotiv took them back. In addition, CCM still supplies equipment to Russia. But there were difficulties with skates. I’ve ridden Bauer my whole life. Since this company has ceased cooperation with Russia, in the summer you will not find its skates in stores. I looked for my body but couldn’t find it. I had to switch to CCM.
“Too early to compare Michkov with Ovechkin”
– You once said that Matvey Michkov from SKA is interested in you about the NHL. How was that dialogue?
“I can’t say we’re friends with him. Matvey and I only crossed paths in the national team once and the communication didn’t last very long. So we talked for a few minutes.
— How would you rate his acting qualities? Many compare him with Alexander Ovechkin.
– Matvey is a talented man, for some reason they say a lot about him. It has many good features. But it is probably too early to compare with the same Ovechkin. Nevertheless, he is still very young, a significant number of obstacles await in life.
– Recently, Michkov played the first match of the season. He missed almost two months due to an injury he received after Alexei Emelin remained in power. The parties disagreed over whether a foul was committed by an experienced defender.
– I saw the episode, but the moment is very, very controversial. On the one hand, I understand Emelin, who explained that she could not let Matvey beat her, on the other hand, Michkov was dribbled.
– Speaking of the team. Is it a shame that there is no opportunity to speak internationally? How unfair are the IIHF’s punitive measures?
– It is difficult to discuss this topic, and I do not want to. We are just hockey players, nothing depends on us. What we are told is what we do. Therefore, I do not attach any importance to the current situation. The same goes for talking about changing the format of the KHL playoffs: as we were told to play, so be it. For me this is not a fundamental point.
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